Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Woes Of Olympos

Seldom before has the opening sentence of an article grabbed my attention as firmly as this one did:
For more than a year, officials in Beijing have been designing a special laboratory to determine the sex of any athletes taking part in this year's Olympic games.

Surprisingly these genetic and chromosomal tests aren't new. Really, I don't pay much attention to the Olympics, so didn't even realize that this was a problem. Other than ogle the male swimmers and gymnasts, I've never seen the point. (Now Paul Hamm has broke his hand and I don't know if Morgan Hamm has been approved to go yet . . .) And I can't see getting too excited in the nationalist side of these things. I mean, I'm glad if the USA wins medals, but I'm not exactly heartbroken if we don't. Despite the mantra of "it's a time for countries to put aside politcs" bull, the Olympics are pure politics, plain and simple.

Don't believe me? Check this out:

Take, for instance, what happened when our researcher Ed Flanagan was accompanying cameraman Kevin Burke last week on a shoot at the main Olympics ticket booth.

Wishing to get a high shot of the massive crowds of Chinese waiting to buy tickets, Kevin, with his video camera, climbed on top of a table that was supposed to be used to sell tickets.

Immediately, outraged bystanders began shouting at him (in Chinese): "Get off that table now! You are disrespecting the Olympics spirit! You are besmirching China!"

Ed quietly suggested to Kevin that he step down from the table.
If you still don't think so, you might explain to me why the Olympics Committee has acquiesced to censorship of websites by the Chinese government during this year's Olympics. (I wish I'd come up with "The Great Firewall," alas I did not.)
Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday......China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked.

*gasp* NO! Censorship in China?!? Quelle surprise!?! Tell me, again, why the games "must go on?" Freedom isn't free, people. And neither is China.

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